What are local councils?
Parish and town councils are known as local councils. They are statutory bodies that make up the first tier of local government in England. Parish and town councils are an example of important and influential grass roots democracy. Local councils serve electorates ranging from small communities to towns and small cities. The local councillors who serve on parish and town councils are independently elected and are accountable to the people they represent in their local community.
Parish and town councils are at the heart of the communities they serve. Residents can clearly see the difference that pro-active local councils can make.
Through an extensive range of powers local councils provide and maintain a variety of important and visible local services including: allotments, bus shelters, car parks, open spaces, transport schemes, safety and crime reduction, events, leisure and sports facilities, litter bins, public toilets, street cleaning, older persons and youth projects.
As legislation gives more powers to local councils they are becoming increasingly involved in planning, promoting tourism, licensing and an increasing number of other areas.
Parish councillors are elected for a term of four years. Parish councils are statutory bodies elected to serve their communities and are funded principally by an annual precept collected by the district council with the council tax and paid to parishes in two six-monthly installments. Parish councils are not a part of the Church – administration of church matters is undertaken by a parochial church council, which is a different body entirely.
Councils can also apply for funding such as grants and funding awards, but they do not receive funds direct from central government as principal authorities do.
Apart from staffing and administrative costs, the council also has to pay for things like general parish maintenance, village improvements and grants.